Home THE JOURNEY Cruise Boating Balance – How To Prevent Falling Overboard When Sailing

Boating Balance – How To Prevent Falling Overboard When Sailing

Are you considering taking up sailing? Or perhaps you are just someone who hasn’t engaged in the sport in a while and is looking to brush up on your skills. Whatever the case, we know one thing – man overboard is something we all want to avoid at all costs. It goes without saying that the best rescue is one that never even needs to happen in the first place. This is why it is essential that you take precautionary measures when setting sail. In this article, we look at how you can prevent falling overboard when sailing, so read on to find out more!

1. Secure A Good Foothold

It comes as no surprise that one of the easiest and most effective ways of preventing yourself from falling overboard when sailing is to ensure you secure a good foothold. When it comes to keeping yourself on board, you’ll want to invest in a good pair of boat shoes. You may be tempted to purchase lower quality ones because they’re cheaper, but we highly recommend spending a little extra on footwear that has a strong grip on heeled deck even in wet conditions. Non-skid deck patches also come in handy in the quest to remain safe and dry.

     2. Stay Alert At All Times

One of the best ways to ensure everyone stays safe and dry is to keep alert at all times. You should always keep a look out and be aware of the movements of your sailboat at all times. One thing to keep an eye out for is irregular or rogue waves, as one that shows up unexpectedly can have disastrous effects. Practice mindfulness and always keep aware of your surroundings at all times. Always keep everyone on the boat in the loop if you notice changing conditions so that everyone on board can brace themselves firmly in the unlikely situation where choppy winds and waters pose a threat.

     3. Wear A Safety Harness

Step three in ensuring you don’t fall overboard when sailing is to make sure that you are in a safety harness at all times. This is especially important for those who are new to the sport. The tether on your safety harness should be of length that it ensures you never never even stand a chance of falling overboard. Being clipped to a well secured jack line will ensure that you never go overboard.

     4. Always Dress Appropriately

Aside from boat shoes, it is imperative that you are  dressed appropriately when you go sailing. Always ensure that you are dressed in clothes that keep you as warm as possible, in a bid to prevent yourself from experiencing hypothermia. People often underestimate how cold it can get whilst sailing, leading many to lose their strength, grow weary quickly and make themselves susceptible to going off balance. This can be easily prevented by wearing base layers, toe and hand warmers, a neck guard, and protection for your eyes. Always drink warm liquids that you can take along with you in a flask to ensure that you are sipping on something that will keep you toasty along the way.

     5. Always Hold On To Something

Always remember the popular saying that goes “one hand for yourself and one for the ship”. In other words, it is always advised that you ensure you are constantly holding on to something on your sailboat. If you are having trouble finding something to hold on to, then it is of utmost importance that you put on a safety harness instead.

     6. Check Conditions Before Heading Out

Last but not least, always check the weather conditions before heading out. We highly advise on checking conditions prior to sailing, as predictions from even a few days before often tend to change – and often seemingly out of the blue. Always keep in mind that our physical strength is nothing in comparison to the robustness of natural elements, and for those who are new to sailing, we highly recommend avoiding any potentially disastrous weather. Amateur sailors should stick to light winds and flat waters in order to prevent any mishaps from occurring.


We hope that this article has given you some useful insight into how you can keep yourself safe and onboard on your next sailing adventure!


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